fighting spam and scams on the Internet
"419" Scam – Advance Fee / Fake Lottery Scam
The so-called "419" scam is a type of fraud dominated by criminals from Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Victims of the scam are promised a large amount of money, such as a lottery prize, inheritance, money sitting in some bank account, etc.
Victims never receive this non-existent fortune but are tricked into sending their money to the criminals, who remain anonymous. They hide their real identity and location by using fake names and fake postal addresses as well as communicating via anonymous free email accounts and mobile phones.
Keep in mind that scammers DO NOT use their real names when defrauding people.
The criminals either abuse names of real people or companies or invent names or addresses.
Any real people or companies mentioned below have NO CONNECTION to the scammers!
Read more about such scams here or in our 419 FAQ. Use the Scam-O-Matic to verify suspect emails.
Click here to report a problem with this page.
Some comments by the Scam-O-Matic about the following email:
- This email uses a separate reply address that is different from the sender address. Spammers use this to get replies even when the original spam sending accounts have been shut down. Also, sometimes the sender addresses are legitimate looking but fake and only the reply address is actually an email account controlled by the scammers.
- The following phrases in this message should put you on alert:
- "western union" (this will cost you money - be careful with upfront payments to anyone you only know through email, especially if they promise you a lot of money. NEVER send money by Western Union or MoneyGram to people you do not know personally - NO EXCEPTIONS! Instant wire transfer services are not meant to be used with strangers because they offer no protection against fraud. That is precisely why the criminals want you send money that way. )
- "cotonou" (a location commonly mentioned in 419 scams)
- This email message is a 419 scam. Please see our 419 FAQ for more details on such scams.
- Western Union money transfer is completely untraceable and therefore is *not* safe to use with anyone you do not know personally. It is the preferred method of online criminals to collect money from their victims.
- This email lists mobile phone numbers. Use of such numbers is typical for scams because they allow criminals to conceal their true location. They can receive calls in an Internet cafe from where they send you emails, while pretending to be in some office.
- This email lists free webmail addresses. Use of such addresses is typical for scams. Lotteries, banks and any but the smallest of companies do not normally use such addresses. Criminals use them to anonymously send and receive email at Internet cafes.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Yahoo, France; can be used from anywhere worldwide)
Fraud email example:
From: "Rev. Frank Eze" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2012 00:04:33 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER
FROM WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER.
COTONOU BENIN REPUBLIC/ADDRESS 455 AGBOKOU,ANKPA ROAD
(Rev Frank Eze ) OFFICER INCHARGE
TELL: +229-98 445851
Attention Pls The Beneficiary
This is to notify you about the latest development concerning all the payments
that are left in our custody which yours are inclusive,besides your were given
a bill of $250.00 in order to receive your payment of which we didnât hear from
you for sometime now.
Hence, our western union Head office is now offering a Special bonus to help all
our customers that are having their payment in our custody due to high price of
the $250. In order words we are now requesting that those involve should pay
only the sum of $45.00 to receive all their payment abandoned in our custody.
Beside my dear, this is the opportunity for you to comply and have your funds
transfer to your designated address without any further delay.
Note that after (4 working DAYS) you did not make the payment then we will
divert your funds to Government Treasury,or we will cancel the payment for this
year because this year is not like last year.
Again after (4 DAYS ) We will enter A new project for the year and that is the
reason why we decided to help all our customers with their outstanding
payments before we enter into the new project.
Be advised to send the $45.00 immediately to enable us register your payment and
for you to start receiving your $45.00 immediately.
After the payment of $45.00 you will start receiving your money every day $5000
by western union until your total fund of $1.2Million U.S DOLLARS is completely
transferred to you.
Send the $45.00 by western union Money Transfer with the information below,
Receiver's name== Mr Emeka Peter
Country== Benin Republic.
Text Question== Payment?
The moment we receive the payment of $45.00 we will release the first payment
information of $5000.00, We are looking forward hearing from you soonest.
Thanks and God Bless
Yours in service
Director (Rev. Frank Eze) officer incharge !!!
E-MAIL( firstname.lastname@example.org )